Five Areas Where B2B Marketers Can Leverage Big Data

Big data is now the “New New Thing” in marketing and companies big and small are scrambling on what to make out of this emerging hot subject. The articles on this topic are often stark, with the implication of disaster if companies don’t embrace big data – like, your company will be eaten alive by competitors who are more strategic and agile because they embraced big data. This post is an attempt at separating facts from hype, and to suggest key areas for your marketing organization to start tapping into big data.

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Translate Your Killer Plan into Day-to-Day Marketing Tactics

In a previous blog post, Creating a Marketing Plan That Won’t Die a Slow, Miserable Death, we looked into how to go about planning for an upcoming year or quarter. In this post, we will focus on how to bring all these planning efforts into reality through day-to-day activities. Many companies miss this crucial step. Their good plans sit on the shelf (or the server) untouched, becoming the major reason why most planning exercises go to waste.

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Creating a Marketing Plan That Won’t Die a Slow, Miserable Death

The new year is fast approaching, and many organizations are busy compiling their annual marketing plans. Many  hours are spent on dissecting data, dreaming up ideas, and putting together thick decks. Often, the marketer’s hard work will get a moment in the spotlight in the form of a presentation to the executive team. Unfortunately for many organizations, that’s where the marketing plan will begin its slow death-by-indifference, all the way to the point of irrelevance.

Why does this happen? The usual cause is one of two reasons:

1. The plan that’s been created is not aligned with business objectives for the upcoming year, or,
2. There is no framework within which to operationalize the plan for the day-to-day activities of the marketing team.

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Which Version Won? Understanding Confidence Level in Email A/B testing

Email A/B testing is generally used to select between two different variations of an email message so that the winning version can be sent to the broader population. A/B testing is a comprehensive topic; we will go into it in depth in a future blog post. In preparation for that post, we want to examine the idea of a “confidence level,” which plays a big role in interpreting A/B testing results. For example, the result of an A/B test might say “Variation B wins, with a 96% Confidence Level.” What does that mean? And how it is estimated?

Let’s look at an example. Say there of two variations of email creative that we want to test. Suppose our desired outcome is more clickthroughs. We want to identify the email variation that generates better clickthrough rates using a small list, so that we can use the winner for a bigger campaign down the line.

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Cohort Analysis: 2 Simple Steps to Better Understand Your Leads

Cohort analysis is an often-overlooked area of marketing analytics. It involves tracking a group that shares a common characteristic (a “cohort”) over a certain period of time and evaluating outcomes. In this post, we will talk about cohort analysis of leads. This involves following a group of leads which were created in a certain period, say a full quarter, until the leads become wins or losses.

A cohort analysis can provide important insights on which characteristics show that a lead has high potential for conversion to a win. These insights can then be used to determine which type of leads to focus on in the future.

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Customer Lifecycle Marketing: Reporting, Part 2

This series looks at the five sequential stages in the B2B marketing lifecycle, and discusses the key metrics for each that can be used to gain key insights. In Part 1, we covered the first two stages: Attract and Capture. These are typically the stages that garner the most attention, as lead generation remains the most pressing concern at the typical company. In Part 2, we cover the stages of nurturing, converting to a sales-qualified lead, and post-sale retention and expansion, each of which contributes significantly to both costs and revenue.

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Customer Lifecycle Marketing: Reporting, Part 1

In regards to analytics and reporting, B2B marketers tend to focus on early-funnel leads and their conversion. That’s practical; generating enough qualified leads remains the #1 concern for many marketers and their organizations. However, there is much more useful information to be gained through careful reporting and analysis of key metrics at all stages of the customer lifecycle. For example, it is marketing’s role to build awareness among prospects for the company and its products, so that the top of the funnel collects enough of those convertible leads. Similarly, marketing has a role to play in customer marketing that helps in retention and upsell.

A traditional sales funnel sketches the progressive relationship between buyer and seller from the sales rep’s point of view. The “buyer’s journey” is a recreation of the steps a buyer goes through as they move from sticking with the status quo to committing to change, to researching and then deciding on potential solutions, negotiation, purchase, and post-purchase – the entire lifecycle. Sales doesn’t get involved in this journey until fairly late in the process, but marketing can, and should be there for every step of the way.

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Show Them the Money! (Or at Least the Marketing Performance Report)

In two previous blog posts (Five KPIs to Track and Marketing Accountability from the Lead Up), we laid out an analytic framework for evaluating a company’s marketing performance. In this post, we will discuss how to showcase the fruits of that labor in terms of useful, actionable marketing performance reports.

The ideas presented here are based on Act-On’s own quarterly marketing performance review, with a few changes to make the information more broadly applicable.

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How to Build Marketing Accountability From the Lead Up

In a previous blog post (On the Road to Marketing Accountability: Five KPIs You Should Start Tracking Today), we discussed how to evaluate marketing performance from a macro perspective. In this post we will look at evaluating marketing performance from a micro perspective – specifically, at the lead level.

There are three key variables that ideally should be associated with every new lead:

  • Lead Source
  • Marketing Channel
  • Marketing Campaign

Each of these variables serves a unique purpose, as described below.

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On the Road to Marketing Accountability: Five KPIs You Should Start Tracking Today

Marketing departments take pride in coming up with clever campaign ideas, exciting images, and compelling messages – and rightly so.  However, these matter little to the executive team if the following concern is not addressed: Are our marketing investments bringing enough return?

The first step in addressing this concern, and therefore building up marketing’s credibility, is tracking the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) consistently, over time. These KPIs should be monitored, and the results communicated monthly (or at least quarterly) to the executive team.

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